“Why? Why am I still working at this predictably stressful job to earn money to live in a house that no one but us wants to live in?”
These are the questions that I found myself asking of Buster the Boston Terrier and Fatima the cat, after driving home from work one wet and dreary December evening to an otherwise empty house. Midlife does have its challenges, to our health, our relationships, our careers. So many tipping points. For me, it was the kids growing up and leaving home.
By midlife, it feels authentic to question our path. The popular media is no help. It bombards us with options: ads about miracle drugs, exercise programs, fabulous abs, seductive cleavage, treatments, therapies, diets and destinations…often marketed by aging celebrities who just don’t appear to show any of those tell-tale signs of wear and tear…and all exhorting an aging population with the same message. Get Youthful! Naturally, we start considering different activities and priorities…but, wait a minute. That’s a setup.
This cycle of life, this mid-life experience, is particularly challenging for men. (That’s according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in their most recent report which tracks suicide statistics in the US. Sadly, it’s the same scenario in the UK and other industrialized nations.) We men need some specific attention, some guidance. So, I offer this blog post and this advice. Forget about getting youthful…
Follow Your Moustache
For me, middle age has been a time for many changes; one of them, the appearance of hair follicles on my upper lip like never before. Inconvenience? Or moment of destiny? It took years for me to find the answer, and so much better than a tattoo. These days, everybody and their brother has a tat, or two, or even twelve. Sorry, fellow midlifers, that ship has sailed. No individuality. Thankfully there is another way. Follow your moustache.
Always a matter of individual choice, consider how Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, or Friedrich Nietzsche have answered this call in their time. (If you can identify even one of them after first consulting your web browser, then you are welcome to subscribe to future blogs on my website). Men of distinction have been experimenting with the moustache phenomena for a very long time. Today’s grower literally stands on the shoulders of thought leaders like these.
For the first time grower, it is an act of creation; one that evolves with time. Beginning is easy. Just don’t shave. The result, I can assure you, will be different from what you might have produced in your twenties or thirties. One of the benefits of aging? Find out for yourself. Certainly the experience of growing your own is something to be savored. Particularly when you discover that, like your handwriting or your fingerprint, your moustache is like no other. Errol Flynn’s was thin and precise. Charlie Chaplin’s, a bushy rectangle. Where would Tom Selleck be today without his stache? So many positive examples out there. I encourage you to start right away.
Still don’t see the moustache as a legitimate expression of masculine creativity? Here’s another reason for growing one. Historically, we men tend to deny symptoms of declining health, until things get dangerous. How’s your heart and lungs function? Your digestion? And, especially for men, how’s the prostate? To support this effort, men all over the world will make a choice and grow their mustaches. It’s not just for elections and holidays. Movember is a fine month for growing your moustache as many men do, but really, any time is the ideal time.
Get a head start on yours. Start some growth on that upper lip! If you’re like me, you’ll have had so much fun that when December comes around, you won’t want to shave it off. And, if you’re like me, you’ll also have your prostate numbers checked at your next health screening or medical exam.
Till next time, stop shaving and start growing!
Photo credit: Getty Images